Tuesday, June 7, 2011

E3: Microsofts Conference

Microsoft's Press Conference at E3 2011 wasn't much in surprises but there was something interesting stuff to be seen within some crap of course.

The show started with a straight up demo of 'Modern Warfare 3' and it wasn't much of a bang. The opening part had the played swimming in scuba gear and planting a bomb  on a submarine but this was followed up with a very generic shooting sequence inside the actually sub. The guns all seem the same and the boat chase scene that followed was boring. The good part was the few shots of New York and the actual beautiful looking sky.

The demo was followed by a dumb comment that I'm not even sure was worded right. saying' ... is the worlds greatest storyteller.' I'm pretty sure they said 'Modern Warfare' but I'm not sure I hear right, let's hope not.

Tomb Raider got it's first gameplay footage out to the world next following the first trailer released a few days earlier. Straight away Lara sounded like Lara even if her persistent grunting and moaning sounded like a 15 y.o's bedroom at night. The self muttering dialogue about what is happening at times in the demo was good but she seemed to say 'I need to get out of here' (she's trapped and hurt in some cave) a bit too often. The momentarily dizziness of the screen when she feel from a height was a nice effect and the way Lara walks is very natural and not stiff in anyway. The camera angle changed at times for a somewhat more cinematic effect and it was nice. Walking in water up to her neck the camera was drawn closer and claustrophobia could play effect on some people. After solving a very simplistic 'puzzle' using her surroundings and a torch in a scene that somewhat reminded me of Tomb Raider: Revelations on Playstation a running scene began. Luckily it wasn't from an Indian Jones esc boulder, simply the cave was collapsing. It was actually a well put together part and Lara never seemed in control, she wasn't running confidently, she was always scared. The demo ends with her getting outside and the world out there is simply beautiful.

Microsoft quickly then jumped into the Kinect section, though I could call the rest of the show the Kinect section.

Sports games are now getting Kinect integration, games like FIFA, which if people wanted to play standing up and actually moving would go outside. They then quickly mentioned that you can use voice recognition in SIMS now and moved onto something more interesting.

Mass Effect 3 is getting Kinect support and I bet you were as worried as I was hearing this news. Fear not however as it is actually good. You can make speech decisions in the game by actually speaking them out loud and this is great for the game as it'll make you feel more one-one with Sheppard or whoever your playing as. You can then also control your team mates and order them 'Gareth move forward!' It's actually good implementation that was followed up with the line 'augmenting the excperience' which I think should be a note sent to every developer.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier was next with a solid trailer focusing on the element of tactical shooting like it should be. The Kinect stuff was good and OK though with the showing of gun customization with voice control that seemed cool, but the shooting with Kinect is defiantly a fail. Having to wank of the trigger just doesn't make anyone feel tough.

All future Tom Clancy games where then announced to be having Kinect support which could work well with above mentioned and Hawx for instance, I just don't see it working with Splinter Cell.

The Kinect implementation into the console it's self was then brought about with the ever so lazy announcement that you can now order your X-box around, but if I had an annoying girlfriend like the one doing the demo I defiantly wouldn't let the feature be known about.

Bing is coming to X-Box's all around the world and it's just another lazy mans tool. It allows you to search Netflix, XBLA, Youtube (now coming to X-Box as well) and whatever else by simply saying 'Bing...' whatever you wish. It's a cool feature but nothing really that exciting, though I could have fun telling to X-Box different things like 'Bing ding me' ect...

Microsoft then talked about the ability to watch live TV on your X-Box and movies with the click... Oh wait, no being able to watch anything 'it better without a controller'

The UFC app for X-Box was then quickly shown and is a cool feature for UFC fans as it let's you watch pay-per view match's with a few clicks or shouts, whatever.

Cliff Berzinksy and Ice-T then took stage for a Gears of War 3 demo entering 'X-Box Exclusives' only area of the show now. The demo was pretty plain not showing anything really that exciting but I'm sure Gears fans will like it. I was getting annoyed how weird Ice-T looked on stage with his sunglasses and awkward facial positions but I won't dwell on that.

An announced trailer then began and I was getting excited with the Roman setting and cool trailer in general until the guy showed up on screen knee pulverising the screen and I released it was a silly Kinect game that may or may not cause you to kill your cat dare it get in your way. Oh and the games called RYSE and I went from caring, to not caring in one simple knee punch.

The game everyone basically knew was coming then got a trailer, of course Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. It has improved graphics and co-op, online of course is basically the same as every other remake collective title that has ever been made. Though I'm a bit worried about the price as you can get something like 'The Sly Collection' which contains three games for a cheap price, this is one game so many people will expect a cheaper price or more content of some sort.

Fable: The Journey was announced with Peter on stage himself and not seeming to make any promises he can't keep and it's because the game doesn't look at that great. The trailer it self started out similar to Fable 3's annoying trailer but this time following a bug through the air til it go squished and then the smoke monster started chasing the antagonist (presumably) on  his cart through a Forrest type area. We then got to see some gameplay and my eye brow was raised when I realised I was witnessing a on rails shooter with Kinect. Not saying an on rails shooter for Kinect would be bad, but this one was bad. The thing looked like something I was playing over ten years ago, not graphically but gameplay wise. It was so simple and bland it put a bad taste in my mouth. I hope there is more than what I gathered though and Fable can redeem it's self.

Upon that I should also mention that the guy playing Fable: The Journey was sitting down at one stage. Did I miss something or is that actually a new feature? Though he did jump up after a while so dunno.

Continuing on the theme of games for kids that Fable seemed to have started we were introduced to Kinect: Disney Land. You can wonder around a recreated Disney land with NPC's walking around and interact with people. Not sure what else but that idea in general seemed like a cool thing for the family. They also have games in there somehow but of the few we saw they all seemed to involving falling and collection rings of sort and a variety of games would help. The kids doing the demo were also very... actorish.

The popular PC game Minecraft is coming to X-Box with... yep Kinect support. Unfortunately that's the only detail we were given and that's the annoying thing about it. Telling everyone something big like Minecraft is coming to X-Box which could be a huge deal with many people and then saying 'with Kinect support!' doesn't really please anyone.

Star Wars music rolled into my ears and I with the crowd got eager for what was coming. Kinect Star Wars is highly anticipated by many people but unfortunately once again I was let down. The trailer was boring and didn't really tell anyone much at all and the demo shown didn't make me feel any better. The bland and stiff character movement was straight away apparent and then hearing the guy doing the demo say 'lightsaber on!' to get his legendary weapon out was a huge let down. I don't want to go fan boyish but image if that's how they had to work in the movies, just picture any epic scene where someone slowly lights up there saber, now picture them saying 'lightsaber on!' It just isn't as epic. The one-to-one movement with the lightsaber was pretty responsive and showing Kinect tech well until the guy started to headbutt towards the TV screen to move forward and I wasn't happy again.

Tim Schafer took stage to show Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster and it looks like the perfect game for family with younger children. The gameplay looks simplistic enough that young kids and non-gamer parents can play together and the game really is beautiful looking and magical like the world itself.

Kinect Labs is now available on your X-Box and it sounds like it might actually turn out to be a system for independent Kinect games though I'm not quite sure. What was shown was a couple mini tech type demos showing that you can copy yourself down to the cloths your wearing and produce an Avatar from that. The tech can also be used to 'copy your car' though I don't know how you get that in your living room. Finger tracking was shown a program that lets you draw in 3D space and while the example given wasn't exciting the idea could be used in a cool way in the future.

Kinect Sports: Season Two was announced un-surprisingly and shown with two game demos. A gold one that seemed to have a delay in the swing but the ability to track the power in your swing was ever so cool. The voice ability to change your club is also a nice touch. This was followed with an American Football demo that told me nothing as I couldn't unfocus on the horrible acting of the two guys doing the demo. They were jocks to the max and it was horrible.

Dance Central 2 was then shown and it looked the same as the first to me with two hipsters doing the demo.

The final announcement was of 'a new trilogy' that turned out to be the expect Halo 4. How this is a 'new triolgy' I don't understand. But we also know now that there is also 5 and 6 coming in the franchise with 4 coming in 2012. X-Box two announced next year with Halo 4 is a possibility that I wouldn't put past Microsoft just yet. The trailer for Halo 4 itself was short and sweet but still epic in its own way.

That's where everything ended but feel free to tell me what you think of the confrence below.

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